The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person story-driven mystery. Purchase this game to get both the original and the Unreal Engine 4 remaster called The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux.
User reviews:
Very Positive (5,754 reviews) - 89% of the 5,754 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 25, 2014

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“A story told with a level of cleverness and elegance rarely seen in games.”
9/10 – GameSpot

“Leaves you with several amazing memories; moments that you will want to talk to your friends about for hours.”
9/10 – EuroGamer

“One of the best games of the year.”
9/10 – US Gamer

About This Game

GOOD NEWS EVERYONE: By purchasing the game, you actually get two games now: 1) The original The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, 2) The Unreal Engine 4 remaster called The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux. Please see this link for details.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person story-driven mystery game that focuses entirely on exploration and discovery. It contains no combat or explosions of any kind. If our game leaves any scars, we hope you won’t be able to see them.

You play the game as Paul Prospero, an occult-minded detective who receives a disturbing letter from Ethan Carter. Realizing the boy is in grave danger, Paul arrives at Ethan’s home of Red Creek Valley, where things turn out to be even worse than he imagined. Ethan has vanished in the wake of a brutal murder, which Paul quickly discerns might not be the only local murder worth looking into.

Inspired by the weird fiction (and other tales of the macabre) from the early twentieth century, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter aims to significantly evolve immersive storytelling in games. While it features a private detective and quite a few mental challenges, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is not an especially puzzle-ridden game. Our focus is on atmosphere, mood, and the essential humanity of our characters.

Still, the discoveries won’t happen on their own, or without your help. Using both Paul’s supernatural skill of being able to communicate with the dead, and your own powers of observation, you will discover the mystery behind a trail of corpses, the roots of a dark ancient force lurking in Red Creek Valley, and the fate of a missing boy.

Key Features

  • Explore and interact with the beautiful yet ominous world of Red Creek Valley, which was created with the use of revolutionary photogrammetry technology that allows for nearly photorealistic environments.
  • Communicate with the dead and see how they died in order to gather clues that help you piece together the truth behind Ethan’s disappearance -- and the fate of his family.
  • Experience, in non-linear fashion, a story that combines the pleasures of pulp, private eye, and horror fiction, all of it inspired by writers such as Raymond Chandler, Algernon Blackwood, Stefan Grabinski, and H. P. Lovecraft.
  • Conduct the investigation on your own terms and at your own pace. Although there are a few scary bits in the game, players will have no need for sedatives. Our game is less about terror and more about clammy unease.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows 64-bit
    • Processor: Intel Core2 Duo or equivalent AMD
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX11 compliant card with 1GB of VRAM
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 9 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX9c compliant
Helpful customer reviews
107 of 117 people (91%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 15
(Full review follows below)

  • Game Name: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
  • Original Release: 2014
  • Genre Tags: Exploration; Walking-Simulator; Detective; Great Graphics; Atmospheric
  • My Overall Grade: A-
  • Estimated Playtime (Campaign): 3-8 hours
  • Multiplayer Aspect: None
  • Recommended To: Established fans of the genre; Those intrigued by the genre; Aesthetes; Strong narrative advocates; Game atmosphere connoisseurs; Casual gamers

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an interesting and highly atmospheric game that boasts a mixture of exploration and detective game elements. The detective scenes are well done and never become overly confusing, but they make up less than half of the gameplay. A majority of the gameplay involves walking around, (and probably getting lost), searching for the next scene. This isn’t a bad thing, though, as the ambiance and graphics are absolutely stellar; and the gameworld is a joy to explore. That said, if you aren’t really a fan of slow-paced games without action, colloquially dubbed: “walking-simulators,” then you may find this boring. But if you can appreciate its beauty and take solace in the fact it isn’t a pure walking-simulator and has a number of puzzle-solving scenes, you will probably enjoy The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.

Without a doubt, the best feature of this game is the gorgeous gameworld and atmosphere. But it is more than just beautiful graphics that create this exceptional experience. The soundscape and overall ambiance are also leading contributors. Shortly after first beginning to play this game I found myself crossing a long railway bridge over a lake and I was immediately sucked in by the aesthetics. But I quickly realized that I was captivated by more than the visual view, and that the creaking and groaning effects of the bridge were reinforcing the immersive experience at an exceptional level. This aesthetic and atmospheric experience is established early and maintains its integrity throughout the game.

The actual narrative is interesting and mysterious. The onus is on the player to piece together the narrative and make sense of it. Depending on how much you bother to read and listen, the story becomes more clear or convoluted. I enjoyed the experience; however I do feel like some of the elements of the storyline could have been more fleshed out and explained more clearly.

The gameplay is comprised of mostly exploration, but also has a strong aspect of puzzle-solving elements. As you wander the gameworld you will come across several mysteries, in the form of both murder scenes and supernatural enigmas, which need to be solved through detective work. The mechanics of the puzzle-solving involve discovering the necessary clues in the gameworld and performing the necessary deductions.

There isn’t any action whatsoever throughout the whole game, save for one small area where you may get a jump-scare and sent back to a checkpoint. But even that area is extremely easy to navigate and never really amounts to much action. This is a good thing, as forcing combat or action into the game would have probably only ruined the atmosphere.

One gripe with the game that I have, and also many others have, is that there is no manual saving. I have said it a number of times in my reviews before and I will continue to say it: there is no reason for a PC game in the current generation and beyond to not allow manual saving. I don’t care what kind of game it is, I personally believe people should be able to choose if they want to use manual saves or not. And besides, in The Vanishing of Ethan Carter there is no combat and there are no decision trees, so “save-scumming” (as it is so eloquently called) isn’t even a factor here. Compounding the issue, the checkpoint system isn’t very well-crafted and the distance between checkpoints can be ridiculously far. You need to solve a puzzle or discover the next area in order to prompt the game to save, so if you are stuck and want to stop playing, you will either have to check a guide to finish your current objective or accept the fact you will have to start over when you return. And of course, there is also a possibility of a power outage or system crash. Fortunately, this issue was somewhat alleviated in the Redux version of the game by significantly increasing the frequency of checkpoints. Yet I still find the lack of manual saving to be a serious fault.

As for the Redux version, if your computer can handle it, you should probably play that version. You get both versions together with the purchase of the game. Besides having higher quality graphics from UE4, there are also some subtle changes and improvements (like the aforementioned increase in checkpoints). I personally opted to play the original version, because I’m weird like that, but I will probably come back and play the Redux version in a few years when the story has faded from my memory.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is definitely a very enjoyable experience, if not a peaceful one. You won’t find any action, but you can find mystery and intrigue. And the atmosphere and aesthetic beauty of the game are superb. It felt, to me, like some beautiful lovechild of Dear Esther and MURDERED: SOUL SUSPECT. If you like relaxing and investigative games, or are curious about them, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is absolutely a good one to consider.

Follow my curation page to see more of my recommendations!
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43 of 48 people (90%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 5, 2015
Note: I completed the Redux version of the game.

I've heard so many wonderful things about this game but I held off buying it because I'm not really a fan of walking simulator type of games. However, just a few minutes of watching an LP video on YouTube finally convinced me to pull the trigger. And I'm glad I did as I enjoyed it very much. Not only did I complete the game on the same day I bought it, I did it in one sitting as well. I just HAD to know what happened to Ethan.

+ Graphics looked absolutely amazing!
+ Music and sounds are suitably melancholic and eerie.
+ Interesting story that will keep you captivated.
+ Simple but tight controls.
+ Easy and a variety puzzles.
+ They included the Redux version, free of charge, with the game's purchase. How awesome are the developers?!

- A simple and short tutorial would be nice (though they do warn you about the no-hand-holding thinghy as you start the game).
- Voice acting could be better.
- Short gameplay (about 5 ~ 6 hours).

The ending left me sad and melancholic. I can safely say that I was very much immersed in the story.

I would probably play it again just to look the beautiful views of Red Valley Creek. An absolute steal if you can get it when it's on sale.

My Rating: 8/10
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27 of 30 people (90%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 1
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter revolves about finding the boy (Ethan) who wants to be a writer - so he creates many interesting supernatural short stories. Who are you, you might ask - let's say that doesn't matter. You are there to investigate what happened with Ethan and his family that got possessed by evil.

What distinguish this game from other walking simulators, is definitely the graphics, sounds and music. It's made so delicately that you'll enjoy every second walking in the Red Creek Valley. And if you are more impatient or just want to quickly return somewhere, don't worry, developers allowed you to sprint (this is not Dear Esther). The nature around you feels like modded Skyrim that even on newest desktop builds run on low FPS, but Unreal Engine 4 makes a difference and this game, since the Redux edition that you get for free, runs great!

The gameplay itself is casual, most of the time you'll be exploring the valley, with interludes of dark memories of Carter family, and interludes where Ethan's short stories become real. Those stories are really nice and there's the one that stands out from the others - I won't spoil much, I'll just say that the Lovecraftian horror fans will get excited.

What's worse is the length of the game, the game offers about 3 hours of entertainment with getting all achievements, and not much replayability. That fact is compensated with the beautiful environment and precious soundtrack. In the end it's all about your priorities, if you prefer the environment and story, or the length.

I understand if you don't want to pay 19 euros for a short walking simulator but trust me - if you will see it on sale, buy it. It's a great experience.

For more reviews, join Samurai Vader's Point of View group and follow my curator page, I'm always happy to see feedback about my reviews.
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12 of 17 people (71%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 27
Amazing game.

If your pc is good enough to run this, it will be super amazing! its the perfect game for taking screenshots!
If you are like me (a guy who loves photography) I can totally recommend you getting this! Its just a charm to walk around in this game, Its so beutiful!!

The story is also good and the game also plays good with a controller.

Nothing to complain about here, an excellent game for people who enjoys photography!
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14 of 22 people (64%) found this review helpful
9 people found this review funny
6.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 11, 2015
They pay thousands of dollars for paintings... You pay $19.99 for this game.
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